Timeline of World History: Year by Year from Prehistory to Present Day






First Empires

ca. 7000 B.C. - 200 A.D.


see below text

ZARATHUSTRA "Zoroaster Hymns of the Zend Avesta"


The Medes and the Persian Empire of the


ca. 800-330 B.C.


The Indo-Iranian tribes of 1 Medes and Persians settled in the western highlands of Iran on the border of Mesopotamia beginning late in the second millennium B.C. The Persians annexed Media in 550 B.C. and founded the last great empire of the Ancient Orient, which survived until it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 330 B.C. The historical assessment of the Persians' rule has often been biased and has judged them to be despotic. This is to overlook the fact that under their rule an immense integrated cultural and economic region was provided with security and stability.

Persian and Median soldiers,
stone relief from Persepolis, fifth с B.C.

The Medes and the Rise of the Persian Empire under Cyrus II

Building on the conquests of his Median ancestors, Cyrus II created a world empire.

The only sources of information about the early period of the Medes are Assyrian accounts of conflicts with various mountain tribes. It wasn't until the eighth century B.C. that these tribes were united as a nation under a king.

Media fell under Assyrian and later under Scythian domination. King Cyaxares freed himself from this rule and. together with the Babylonians, destroyed the Neo-Assyrian Empire between 614 and 612 B.C. He and his son Astyages extended their rule all the way to Asia Minor, where they agreed with the Lydians to recognize the Halys River as their common border.

3 Medians paying tribute to the Assyrians

The 5 Median kingdom stretched eastward to Bactria (present-day Afghanistan).

5 Cultivated fields, landscape of the former Media,
northwest Iran

Among the vassals of the Medes were the Persians. Astyages married one of his daughters to the Persian king Cambyses I, the great-grandson of the legendary founder of the Persian ruling house, Achaemencs. Later, however, Cyrus II, the son of Cambyses I, rebelled against Astyages and by 550 had conquered the Median kingdom.

From then on, the Medes were equals with the Persians, who adopted many elements of administration, 7 court ceremony, and 2 art from their former rulers.
Cyrus II's conquests continued. In 546 B.C. he defeated Croesus of Lydia and subjugated the Greek coastal cities of Asia Minor (Ionia). In 539 he conquered the Neo-Babylonian Kingdom.

Babylon—with the ancient Persian capitals of 6 Susa and Pasargadae and the Median capital Ecbatana—thereafter became one of Cyrus's preferred residences.

He allowed the 8 Jews, living in Babylon since their deportation in 587 B.C., to return to their homeland.

7 Persian (left) and
Median (right) dignitaries

2 Clay model of two harnessed animals
with a driver, art from the
Persian culture, ca. 1100 B.C.

6 Procession of archers, life-size frieze
from Darius I's palace in Susa, ca. 500 B.C.

8 Cyrus II with the Jewish prophet Daniel, painting by  Rembrandt, 17th century

Cyrus Il's last campaign took him north, where he 4 died in 530 fighting the Massagetae.

4 The tomb of Cyrus II, located in the royal capital city of Pasargadae

Cyrus the Great allowed the Hebrew exiles to resettle and rebuild Jerusalem,
earning him an honored place in Judaism.


The Persian Empire under Darius I

Under Darius I (the Great), perhaps the most significant ruler of the Ancient Orient, the Persian Empire of the Achaemenids experienced its golden age.

Cambyses II, the son of Cyrus II, conquered Egypt in 525 B.C. In order to foil an attempted coup, he had his younger brother Smerdis (Bardiya) secretly murdered. In the absence of the king, a Magus named Gaumata pretended to be Smerdis and claimed the throne. Cambyses II died on the return march from Egypt in 522 B.C., but his cousin Darius stopped the crowning of the "false Smerdis" and restored the rule of the Achaemenids.

With the turmoil around the throne settled, Darius I consolidated his empire from within. He established provinces, which were required to pay taxes. Although the province governors, called satraps, had much latitude, they were controlled by a system of 9 officials and spies.

A well-developed network of roads equipped with a message and postal service and protected by patrols provided improved communications.

Darius also reformed the rule of law and introduced an empire-wide coinage, the daric. In 497 B.C. he completed the construction of a canal between the Nile and the Red Sea that had been begun by the pharaohs.

9 Persian official in robes,
stiver statuette, fifth century B.C.

10 Darius I on a throne, painted vase,
late fourth century в.с

In Persia he laid the cornerstone for the 13 palace city of 11 Persepolis, which would be developed further by his 12 successors.

Darius I also promoted 14 Zoroastrianism without suppressing the other religions of his multinational empire.

Private palace of Darius I in Persepolis

11 The ruins of Persepolis



12 Darius I with crown prince Xerxes, stone relief, ca. 485 в с

14 Darius I hunting lions, protected by the god Ahura Mazda, round seal print, ca 500 в.с

Darius I pushed the boundaries of the Persian Empire to the Indus River in the east and to the Danube in the northwest of Thrace and subjugated Macedonia in northern Greece. He was not always successful in his military undertakings, however, failing in his campaign against the Scythians in 513-512 B.C. From 500 to 494, Darius was forced to suppress the "Ionian Rebellion" of the Greek city-states in Anatolia, and a punitive expedition to Greece ended with his defeat at the Battle of Marathon in 490. Darius I died in 486 while preparing for another war against the Greeks.


Darius I

Darius I, byname Darius the Great (born 550 bc—died 486), king of Persia in 522–486 bc, one of the greatest rulers of the Achaemenid dynasty, who was noted for his administrative genius and for his great building projects. Darius attempted several times to conquer Greece; his fleet was destroyed by a storm in 492, and the Athenians defeated his army at Marathon in 490.

Ascension to monarchy.
Darius was the son of Hystaspes, the satrap (provincial governor) of Parthia. The principal contemporary sources for his history are his own inscriptions, especially the great trilingual inscription on the Bīsitūn (Behistun) rock at the village of the same name, in which he tells how he gained the throne. The accounts of his accession given by the Greek historians Herodotus and Ctesias are in many points obviously derived from this official version but are interwoven with legends.

According to Herodotus, Darius, when a youth, was suspected by Cyrus II the Great (who ruled from 559 to 529 bc) of plotting against the throne. Later Darius was in Egypt with Cambyses II, the son of Cyrus and heir to his kingdom, as a member of the royal bodyguard. After the death of Cambyses in the summer of 522 bc, Darius hastened to Media, where, in September, with the help of six Persian nobles, he killed Bardiya (Smerdis), another son of Cyrus, who had usurped the throne the previous March. In the Bīsitūn inscription Darius defended this deed and his own assumption of kingship on the grounds that the usurper was actually Gaumata, a Magian, who had impersonated Bardiya after Bardiya had been murdered secretly by Cambyses. Darius therefore claimed that he was restoring the kingship to the rightful Achaemenid house. He himself, however, belonged to a collateral branch of the royal family, and, as his father and grandfather were alive at his accession, it is unlikely that he was next in line to the throne. Some modern scholars consider that he invented the story of Gaumata in order to justify his actions and that the murdered king was indeed the son of Cyrus.

Darius did not at first gain general recognition but had to impose his rule by force. His assassination of Bardiya was followed, particularly in the eastern provinces, by widespread revolts, which threatened to disrupt the empire. In Susiana, Babylonia, Media, Sagartia, and Margiana, independent governments were set up, most of them by men who claimed to belong to the former ruling families. Babylonia rebelled twice and Susiana three times. In Persia itself a certain Vahyazdata, who pretended to be Bardiya, gained considerable support. These risings, however, were spontaneous and uncoordinated, and, notwithstanding the small size of his army, Darius and his generals were able to suppress them one by one. In the Bīsitūn inscription he records that in 19 battles he defeated nine rebel leaders, who appear as his captives on the accompanying relief. By 519 bc, when the third rising in Susiana was put down, he had established his authority in the east. In 518 Darius visited Egypt, which he lists as a rebel country, perhaps because of the insubordination of its satrap, Aryandes, whom he put to death.

Fortification of the empire.
Having restored internal order in the empire, Darius undertook a number of campaigns for the purpose of strengthening his frontiers and checking the incursions of nomadic tribes. In 519 bc he attacked the Scythians east of the Caspian Sea and a few years later conquered the Indus Valley. In 513, after subduing eastern Thrace and the Getae, he crossed the Danube River into European Scythia, but the Scythian nomads devastated the country as they retreated from him, and he was forced, for lack of supplies, to abandon the campaign. The satraps of Asia Minor completed the subjugation of Thrace, secured the submission of Macedonia, and captured the Aegean islands of Lemnos and Imbros. Thus, the approaches to Greece were in Persian hands, as was control of the Black Sea grain trade through the straits, the latter being of major importance to the Greek economy. The conquest of Greece was a logical step to protect Persian rule over the Greeks of Asia Minor from interference by their European kinsmen. According to Herodotus, Darius, before the Scythian campaign, had sent ships to explore the Greek coasts, but he took no military action until 499 bc, when Athens and Eretria supported an Ionian revolt against Persian rule. After the suppression of this rebellion, Mardonius, Darius’ son-in-law, was given charge of an expedition against Athens and Eretria, but the loss of his fleet in a storm off Mount Athos (492 bc) forced him to abandon the operation. In 490 bc another force under Datis, a Mede, destroyed Eretria and enslaved its inhabitants but was defeated by the Athenians at Marathon. Preparations for a third expedition were delayed by an insurrection in Egypt, and Darius died in 486 bc before they were completed.

Darius as an administrator.
Although Darius consolidated and added to the conquests of his predecessors, it was as an administrator that he made his greatest contribution to Persian history. He completed the organization of the empire into satrapies, initiated by Cyrus the Great, and fixed the annual tribute due from each province. During his reign, ambitious and far-sighted projects were undertaken to promote imperial trade and commerce. Coinage, weights, and measures were standardized and land and sea routes developed. An expedition led by Scylax of Caryanda sailed down the Indus River and explored the sea route from its mouth to Egypt, and a canal from the Nile River to the Red Sea, probably begun by the chief of the Egyptian delta lords, Necho I (7th century bc), was repaired and completed.

While measures were thus taken to unite the diverse peoples of the empire by a uniform administration, Darius followed the example of Cyrus in respecting native religious institutions. In Egypt he assumed an Egyptian titulary and gave active support to the cult. He built a temple to the god Amon in the Kharga oasis, endowed the temple at Edfu, and carried out restoration work in other sanctuaries. He empowered the Egyptians to reestablish the medical school of the temple of Sais, and he ordered his satrap to codify the Egyptian laws in consultation with the native priests. In the Egyptian traditions he was considered as one of the great lawgivers and benefactors of the country. In 519 bc he authorized the Jews to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem, in accordance with the earlier decree of Cyrus. In the opinion of some authorities, the religious beliefs of Darius himself, as reflected in his inscriptions, show the influence of the teachings of Zoroaster, and the introduction of Zoroastrianism as the state religion of Persia is probably to be attributed to him.

Darius was the greatest royal architect of his dynasty, and during his reign Persian architecture assumed a style that remained unchanged until the end of the empire. In 521 bc he made Susa his administrative capital, where he restored the fortifications and built an audience hall (apadana) and a residential palace. The foundation inscriptions of his palace describe how he brought materials and craftsmen for the work from all quarters of the empire. At Persepolis, in his native country of Fars (Persis), he founded a new royal residence to replace the earlier capital at Pasargadae. The fortifications, apadana, council hall, treasury, and a residential palace are to be attributed to him, although not completed in his lifetime. He also built at Ecbana and Babylon.

J.M. Munn-Rankin

Encyclopædia Britannica



King Darius Says:

"Ahura Mazda, when he saw this earth in commotion, thereafter bestowed it upon me, made me king; I am king. By the favor of Ahura Mazda I put it down in its place; what I said to them, that they did, as was my desire.

"If now you shall think that 'How many are the countries which King Darius held?' look at the sculptures [of those] who bear the throne, then shall you know, then shall it become known to you: the spear of a Persian man has gone forth; then shall it become known to you: a Persian man has delivered battle far from Persia."

Rock tombs of (from left) Artaxerxes I (or Darius II),
Xerxes I (or Artaxerxes I), and Darius I at Naqsh-i-Rustam, near Persepolis





The Persian Empire under the Later Achaemenids

Rebellion in the provinces and intrigue within the royal house weakened the power of the Persians under the successors of Darius I. Warfare against the Greeks remained inconclusive until Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire in 330 в.с

At the beginning of his rule in 486 B.C., 1 Xerxes I, the son and successor of Darius I, had to crush a rebellion in Egypt.

1 Xerxes receives a Median dignitary

He then attempted to carry out his father's plans for the conquest of Greece. Xerxes only succeeded in advancing as far as Athens, and ultimately his fleet was defeated at the Battle of Salamis in 480 B.C., and his army was routed at the Battle of Plataea the following year.

By then, Xerxes had already returned to his 3 capital, where he remained from then on, dedicating himself especially to building activities. He was murdered during a palace revolt in 465.

3 The Propylaia of Xerxes I, the
"gate to all countries," Persepolis, fifth с. в.с.

Xerxes' son Artaxerxes I ended the conflict with 2 Greece by signing the Peace of Callias in 448 b.c.

2 The Athenian Themistocles and Artaxerxes I,
steel engraving, 1842

The Persians subsequently shifted their support from one belligerent to another during the Peloponnesian War and in the disputes between Athens, Sparta, and Thebes of the fourth century B.C. In return for this decisive support, the Greek powers fighting Sparta handed over the Ionian cities to the Persians in the "King's Peace" the Peace of Antalkidas.

The Persians were expelled from Egypt in 404 b.c, but 4 Artaxerxes III recaptured it in 343 B.C.


Xerxes I

Xerxes I, Old Persian Khshayarsha, byname Xerxes The Great (born c. 519 bc—died 465, Persepolis), Persian king (486–465 bc), the son and successor of Darius I. He is best known for his massive invasion of Greece from across the Hellespont (480 bc), a campaign marked by the battles of Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataea. His ultimate defeat spelled the beginning of the decline of the Achaemenid Empire.

Accession to the throne
Xerxes was the son of Darius I and Atossa, daughter of Cyrus; he was the first son born to Darius after his accession to the throne. Xerxes was designated heir apparent by his father in preference to his elder brother Artabazanes. A bas-relief on the southern portico of a courtyard in the treasury of Persepolis, as well as the bas-reliefs on the east door of the tripylon (an ornamental stairway) depict him as the heir apparent, standing behind his father, who is seated on the throne. When his father died, in 486 bc, Xerxes was about 35 years old and had already governed Babylonia for a dozen years.

One of his first concerns upon his accession was to pacify Egypt, where a usurper had been governing for two years. But he was forced to use much stronger methods than had Darius: in 484 bc he ravaged the Delta and chastised the Egyptians. Xerxes then learned of the revolt of Babylon, where two nationalist pretenders had appeared in swift succession. The second, Shamash-eriba, was conquered by Xerxes’ son-in-law, and violent repression ensued: Babylon’s fortresses were torn down, its temples pillaged, and the statue of Marduk destroyed; this latter act had great political significance: Xerxes was no longer able to “take the hand of” (receive the patronage of) the Babylonian god. Whereas Darius had treated Egypt and Babylonia as kingdoms personally united to the Persian Empire (though administered as satrapies), Xerxes acted with a new intransigence. Having rejected the fiction of personal union, he then abandoned the titles of king of Babylonia and king of Egypt, making himself simply “king of the Persians and the Medes.”

It was probably the revolt of Babylon, although some authors say it was troubles in Bactria, to which Xerxes alluded in an inscription that proclaimed:

And among these countries (in rebellion) there was one where, previously, daevas had been worshipped. Afterward, through Ahura Mazdā’s favour, I destroyed this sanctuary of daevas and proclaimed, “Let daevas not be worshipped!” There, where daevas had been worshipped before, I worshipped Ahura Mazdā.

Xerxes thus declared himself the adversary of the daevas, the ancient pre-Zoroastrian gods, and doubtlessly identified the Babylonian gods with these fallen gods of the Aryan religion. The questions arise of whether the destruction of Marduk’s statue should be linked with this text proclaiming the destruction of the daeva sanctuaries, of whether Xerxes was a more zealous supporter of Zoroastrianism than was his father, and, indeed, of whether he himself was a Zoroastrian. The problem of the relationship between the Achaemenid religion and Zoroastrianism is a difficult one, and some scholars, such as M. Molé, have even thought that this is an improper posing of the question, that there were, rather, three different states of religion: a religion of strict observance, a royal religion as attested by the Achaemenid inscriptions, and the popular religion as described by the Greek historian Herodotus.

War against the Greeks
With the tranquillity of the empire reestablished, Xerxes would willingly have devoted himself to peaceful activities. But many of those around him were pressing for the renewal of hostilities. His cousin and brother-in-law Mardonius, supported by a strong party of exiled Greeks, incited him to take revenge for the affront that Darius had suffered at the hands of the Greeks at Marathon (490 bc). The impressionable Xerxes gave way to pressure from his entourage and threw himself into patient diplomatic and military preparations for war, which required three years to complete (484–481 bc). Herodotus notes that never before had such an effort been undertaken. Troops were levied in all the satrapies, and a navy, intended to be the army’s supply line, was gathered. The care lavished on this enterprise shows that the King did not regard it as a minor operation.

There has been much later speculation on the real causes for the expedition. They could not have been economic, because Greece was not important then. Perhaps it was only the manifestation of a royal absolutism: Xerxes, whose character was later distorted in Greek legend, was neither foolish nor overly optimistic; although sensible and intelligent, he was nevertheless, according to G. Glotz,

a sovereign by divine right, to whom opposition was as annoying as sacrilege . . . nervous in temperament, fallen from youthful fire into indolence, incited to make a war he didn’t like. . . .

At the head of his armies, he left Sardis for the Hellespont and had two boat bridges placed across the strait. A storm destroyed them, and Xerxes had the sea whipped as punishment. With the bridges remade, for seven days he oversaw the crossing of the army—5,000,000 men according to Herodotus and 360,000 by modern estimate, supported by 700 to 800 ships. Their passage was facilitated by a massive engineering works: a channel was dug across the Isthmus of Actium so that the peaks of Mount Athos might be avoided. Nevertheless, the army’s size was of no help, partly because of misinformation about the enemy terrain and partly because of the appearance of a national feeling in Greece. After a few successes (e.g., Thermopylae, mid-August 480 bc), Xerxes occupied Attica and pillaged Athens on September 21, but on September 29, at Salamis, a naval battle that he had initiated turned into a defeat. Without a fleet to bring supplies to the army, he had to retreat; he crossed over into Asia, leaving Mardonius in Thessaly. During an indecisive battle near Plataea, on Aug. 27, 479, Mardonius was killed, and his death obliged the army of occupation to withdraw. Hostilities continued for 13 years, but thenceforth Xerxes involved himself only slightly.

Withdrawal to Persia
Soured by this failure, which modern historians consider the beginning of Achaemenian decline, Xerxes retired to Susa and Persepolis. He then furthered the depletion of the once-enormous resources he had gathered, through multiple taxation, by launching a vast construction program. At the capital city of Persepolis, Darius’ architects, working from a unified plan of great scope, had already begun construction on a gigantic terrace of the Apadana (an audience hall), the Tripylon, a palace, and a treasury. When Xerxes became king, he had laid the enameled-brick facing on the exterior of the Apadana and finished his father’s palace. Then he erected other monuments: his own palace, southeast of Darius’ and similar to it in plan, and a mysterious building called the Harem by archaeologists—a line of small, identical rooms that may have been Xerxes’ treasury. He also undertook construction of the Hall of a Hundred Columns, or Throne Room, but he was able to finish only the paving and the base of the walls (the walls themselves and the decoration of this gigantic hypostyle hall were the work of Artaxerxes I). These buildings marked an evolution toward the colossal and toward a style that was perhaps more pretentious than that typical of Darius’ reign.

Little is known about the last years of Xerxes’ life. After his reversal in Greece, he withdrew into himself and allowed himself to be drawn into harem intrigues in which he was, in fact, only a pawn: thus, he disposed of his brother’s entire family at the demand of the queen. But in 465 he himself fell, together with his eldest son, under the blows of murderous members of his court, among them his minister Artabanus. Another son, Artaxerxes I, succeeded in retaining power.

Jean-Louis Huot

Encyclopædia Britannica

4 Artaxerxes III's tomb, carved into the rock face,
near Persepolis

He also supported the opponents of Philip II of Macedonia, who had united the Greeks and planned to wage a war against the Persians. Artaxerxes III and his son and heir were both poisoned in palace intrigues. Whereupon Darius III, a member of a minor branch of the Achaemenids, assumed the throne in 336, becoming the last Persian king.

In 334 b.c, Alexander the Great of Macedonia opened the campaign against the Persians planned by his father Philip II.

Darius III suffered crushing defeats in 333 at 6 lssus and in 331 at Gaugamela.

Following these reverses he fled to the north of Iran, where he was betrayed and  murdered in 330.

5 By 324, Alexander had conquered the whole of the Persian Empire. The Seleucid dynasty that ruled the area after Alexander's death was succeeded by the Arsacids. They presided over a revival of Achaemenid traditions, and this continued under the Sassinian kings who overthrew them in 230 b.c.

6 Darius III at the Battle of lssus

5 Alexander the Great before the Corpse of Darius III, 330 BC,
by Francesco Guardi



Artaxerxes III

Artaxerxes III , (died 338 bc), Achaemenid king of Persia (reigned 359/358–338 bc).

He was the son and successor of Artaxerxes II and was called Ochus before he took the throne. Artaxerxes III was a cruel but energetic ruler. To secure his throne he put to death most of his relatives. In 356 he ordered all the satraps (governors) of the Achaemenid empire to dismiss their mercenaries. He also forced Athens to conclude peace and to acknowledge the independence of its rebellious allies (355).

Artaxerxes then attempted to subjugate Egypt, which had been independent since 404. Failure of the first attempt (351) encouraged the Phoenician towns and the princes of Cyprus to revolt. Early in 345, Artaxerxes collected a great army and marched against the Phoenician city of Sidon. Mentor of Rhodes, who had helped betray Sidon, rose high in the king’s favour and entered into a close understanding with the eunuch Bagoas, the king’s favourite. Artaxerxes then advanced on Egypt with a great land and naval force and, at Pelusium in the Nile River delta, defeated the pharaoh Nectanebo II (343). A Persian satrap was placed over Egypt, the walls of its cities were destroyed, its temples were plundered, and Artaxerxes was said to have killed the Apis bull with his own hand.

After the king’s return to Susa, Bagoas ruled the court and the upper satrapies, while Mentor restored the authority of the empire throughout the west. When Philip of Macedon attacked Perinthus and Byzantium (340), Artaxerxes sent support to those cities. In 338 Artaxerxes and his elder sons were killed by Bagoas, who then raised the king’s youngest son, Arses, to the throne.


Darius III

Darius III, also called Codommanus (died 330 bc, Bactria), the last king (reigned 336–330 bc) of the Achaemenid dynasty.

Darius belonged to a collateral branch of the royal family and was placed on the throne by the eunuch Bagoas, who had poisoned the two previous kings, Artaxerxes III and Arses. When Darius asserted his independence, Bagoas also attempted his murder but was forced by the king to drink the poison himself.

In 337 Philip II of Macedon had formed the League of Corinth for the purpose of liberating the Greek cities under Achaemenid rule and, early in 336, had sent an advance force into Asia Minor. In July, however, he was assassinated, perhaps at the instigation of Darius. In the spring of 334 Philip’s son Alexander the Great crossed the Hellespont. Because Darius had made no serious preparations to resist the invasion, Alexander defeated an Achaemenid army at the Granicus and, by the following year, had won most of Asia Minor and reached Cilicia. Darius finally advanced against him but was defeated at Issus in the autumn of 333. Darius fled from the field, abandoning his mother, wife, and children.

Darius twice sent Alexander a letter of friendship, the second time offering a large ransom for his family, cession of all the Achaemenid Empire west of the Euphrates River, and the hand of his daughter in return for an alliance. Alexander rejected both letters and marched into Mesopotamia. Darius made no attempt to resist his crossing of the Euphrates and Tigris but offered battle at Gaugamela, east of modern Mosul. On Oct. 1, 331, he was decisively defeated, and, as at Issus, he turned his chariot and fled, although his subordinates fought on. He escaped to Ecbatana, and then, on the approach of Alexander, he retired toward Bactria but was deposed and killed by the Bactrian satrap Bessus.

Encyclopædia Britannica



Persia in Greek Historiography

Persian history was retold in Europe in Herodotus's Histories and in the Anabasis by Xenophon.
Xenophon was one of thousands of Greek mercenaries who took part in the coup attempt by Cyrus the Younger against his brother, King Artaxerxes II, in 401 B.C.
After Cyrus was defeated and killed he led the survivors back to safety.




Religion in the Persian Empire

Zoroastrianism flourished under the Achaemenids. The Zoroastrian concept of the afterlife had a significant influence on both Judaism and Christianity.

see below text

ZARATHUSTRA "Zoroaster Hymns of the Zend Avesta"


The ancient Iranian religion of Zoroastrianism recognized a great number of gods and was probably related to the Vedic religion of ancient India. The rituals of the Magi, a hereditary priestly cast, predominated in the cult. Their name is derived from the Magoi, a Median tribe whose members were renowned for their spiritual practices.

The prophet 7 Zarathustra (or Zoroaster in Greek) appeared around 600 B.C., probably out of the ranks of the 8 Magi, to proclaim the teachings of the one god 11 Ahura Mazda.

Zarathustra criticized the Magi for, among other things, their bloody 9 animal sacrifices and thus earned their enmity.

7 Detail of The School of Athens by Raphael, 1509, showing Zoroaster (left, with star-studded globe).

Praying man with goat,
golden statuette, twelfth century B.C.

Two sphinxes carry Ahura Mazda, cylindrical seal vamp, ca. 590-330 B.C.

Ritual sacrifice of a goat, detail from stone relief,
end of the fifth century B.C.


Symbol of Ahura Mazda, the Persian God

King Darius I became a follower of Zarathustra's teachings after thwarting the coup attempt of the Magus usurper Gaumata. Over time, the Magi adapted to Zoroastrianism and were able to defend their monopoly on religious worship.

According to Zarathustra, Ahura Mazda is the almighty creator of the cosmos and judge at the end of time. He represents the original, right, and good world order and is identified with "the Good Spirit" that opposes "the Evil Spirit." Man is free to decide between these two options but will be judged according to his deeds at the Last Judgment. Along with this dualistic value system, strict purity of ritual is particularly characteristic of Zoroastrianism.

Priests were allowed to approach the 10 eternal flame that burned in the temples in honor of the god only with their mouths covered so they wouldn't desecrate it with their breath. Fire, earth, and water were considered holy elements.

During the time of Persian dominance, the jews came in contact with the concepts of heaven, hell, and a "last judgment," which became an important tenet of Judaism, and later of Christianity and Islam. Manichaeism was formed out of a fusion of Zoroastrianism with Christian and Buddhist teachings and was, for a time, early Christianity's strongest competitor.

Zoroastrianism once again experienced a golden period as the state religion in the Sassanid empire from the third to seventh centuries A.D., only to disappear from Iran almost completely after the Arab invasions that introduced Islam. Many followers of the teachings of Zarathustra emigrated, primarily to India, where they were called "Parsis" after their land of origin, Persia. Today there are around 200,000 Parsis, about half of them in India.

Fire altar, Achaemenid temple, known
as the Kaaba of Zarathustra, fifth с B.C.

Lance bearers in Persian and Median dress under the winged sun of Ahura Mazda,
stone relief from Persepolis, fifth century B.C.


Ahura Mazda (right, with high crown) invests Ardashir I (left) with the ring of kingship. (Naqsh-e Rustam, 3rd c. CE)


see below text

ZARATHUSTRA "Zoroaster Hymns of the Zend Avesta"



Iranian prophet
Old Iranian Zarathushtra, or Zarathustra

born c. 628 bc, probably Rhages, Iran
died c. 551, site unknown


A major personality in the history of the religions of the world, Zoroaster has been the object of much attention for two reasons. On the one hand, he became a legendary figure believed to be connected with occult knowledge and magical practices in the Near Eastern and Mediterranean world in the Hellenistic Age (c. 300 bc–c. ad 300). On the other hand, his monotheistic concept of God has attracted the attention of modern historians of religion, who have speculated on the connections between his teaching and Judaism and Christianity. Though extreme claims of pan-Iranianism (i.e., that Zoroastrian or Iranian ideas influenced Greek, Roman, and Jewish thought) may be disregarded, the pervasive influence of Zoroaster’s religious thought must nevertheless be recognized.

The student of Zoroastrianism is confronted by several problems concerning the religion’s founder. One question is what part of Zoroastrianism derives from Zoroaster’s tribal religion and what part was new as a result of his visions and creative religious genius. Another question is the extent to which the later Zoroastrian religion (Mazdaism) of the Sāsānian period (ad 224–651) genuinely reflected the teachings of Zoroaster. A third question is the extent to which the sources—the Avesta (the Zoroastrian scriptures) with the Gāthās (older hymns), the Middle Persian Pahlavi Books, and reports of various Greek authors—offer an authentic guide to Zoroaster’s ideas.

A biographical account of Zoroaster is tenuous at best or speculative at the other extreme. The date of Zoroaster’s life cannot be ascertained with any degree of certainty. According to Zoroastrian tradition, he flourished “258 years before Alexander.” Alexander the Great conquered Persepolis, the capital of the Achaemenids, a dynasty that ruled Persia from 559 to 330 bc, in 330 bc. Following this dating, Zoroaster converted Vishtāspa, most likely a king of Chorasmia (an area south of the Aral Sea in Central Asia), in 588 bc. According to tradition, he was 40 years old when this event occurred, thus indicating that his birthdate was 628 bc. Zoroaster was born into a modestly situated family of knights, the Spitama, probably at Rhages (now Rayy, a suburb of Tehrān), a town in Media. The area in which he lived was not yet urban, its economy being based on animal husbandry and pastoral occupations. Nomads, who frequently raided those engaged in such occupations, were viewed by Zoroaster as aggressive violators of order, and he called them followers of the Lie.

Zoroaster’s teachings.
According to the sources, Zoroaster probably was a priest. Having received a vision from Ahura Mazdā, the Wise Lord, who appointed him to preach the truth, Zoroaster apparently was opposed in his teachings by the civil and religious authorities in the area in which he preached. It is not clear whether these authorities were from his native region or from Chorasmia prior to the conversion of Vishtāspa. Confident in the truth revealed to him by Ahura Mazdā, Zoroaster apparently did not try to overthrow belief in the older Iranian religion, which was polytheistic; he did, however, place Ahura Mazdā at the centre of a kingdom of justice that promised immortality and bliss. Though he attempted to reform ancient Iranian religion on the basis of the existing social and economic values, Zoroaster’s teachings at first aroused opposition from those whom he called the followers of the Lie (dregvant).

Ahura Mazdā and the Beneficent Immortals.
Zoroaster’s teachings, as noted above, centred on Ahura Mazdā, who is the highest god and alone is worthy of worship. He is, according to the Gāthās, the creator of heaven and earth; i.e., of the material and the spiritual world. He is the source of the alternation of light and darkness, the sovereign lawgiver, and the very centre of nature, as well as the originator of the moral order and judge of the entire world. The kind of polytheism found in the Indian Vedas (Hindu scriptures having the same religious background as the Gāthās) is totally absent; the Gāthās, for example, mention no female deity sharing Ahura Mazdā’s rule. He is surrounded by six or seven beings, or entities, which the later Avesta calls amesha spentas, “beneficent immortals.” The names of the amesha spentas frequently recur throughout the Gāthās and may be said to characterize Zoroaster’s thought and his concept of god. In the words of the Gāthās, Ahura Mazdā is the father of Spenta Mainyu (Holy Spirit), of Asha Vahishta (Justice, Truth), of Vohu Manah (Righteous Thinking), and of Armaiti (Spenta Armaiti, Devotion). The other three beings (entities) of this group are said to personify qualities attributed to Ahura Mazdā: they are Khshathra Vairya (Desirable Dominion), Haurvatāt (Wholeness), and Ameretāt (Immortality). This does not exclude the possibility that they, too, are creatures of Ahura Mazdā. The good qualities represented by these beings are also to be earned and possessed by Ahura Mazdā’s followers. This means that the gods and mankind are both bound to observe the same ethical principles. If the amesha spentas show the working of the deity, while at the same time constituting the order binding the adherents of the Wise Lord, then the world of Ahura Mazdā and the world of his followers (the ashavan) come close to each other. The very significant eschatological aspect of Zoroastrianism is well demonstrated by the concept of Khshathra (Dominion), which is repeatedly accompanied by the adjective Desirable; it is a kingdom yet to come.

Monotheism and dualism.
The conspicuous monotheism of Zoroaster’s teaching is apparently disturbed by a pronounced dualism: the Wise Lord has an opponent, Ahriman, who embodies the principle of evil, and whose followers, having freely chosen him, also are evil. This ethical dualism is rooted in the Zoroastrian cosmology. He taught that in the beginning there was a meeting of the two spirits, who were free to choose—in the words of the Gāthās—“life or not life.” This original choice gave birth to a good and an evil principle. Corresponding to the former is a Kingdom of Justice and Truth; to the latter, the Kingdom of the Lie (Druj), populated by the daevas, the evil spirits (originally prominent old Indo-Iranian gods). Monotheism, however, prevails over the cosmogonic and ethical dualism because Ahura Mazdā is father of both spirits, who were divided into the two opposed principles only through their choice and decision.

The Wise Lord, together with the amesha spentas, will at last vanquish the spirit of evil: this message, implying the end of the cosmic and ethical dualism, seems to constitute Zoroaster’s main religious reform. His monotheistic solution resolves the old strict dualism. The dualist principle, however, reappears in an acute form in a later period, after Zoroaster. It is achieved only at the expense of Ahura Mazdā, by then called Ohrmazd, who is brought down to the level of his opponent, Ahriman. At the beginning of time, the world was divided into the dominion of the good and of the evil. Between these, each man is bound to decide. He is free and must choose either the Wise Lord and his rule or Ahriman, the Lie. The same is true of the spiritual beings, who are good or bad according to their choices. From man’s freedom of decision it follows that he is finally responsible for his fate. Through his good deeds, the righteous person (ashavan) earns an everlasting reward, namely integrity and immortality. He who opts for the lie is condemned by his own conscience as well as by the judgment of the Wise Lord and must expect to continue in the most miserable form of existence, one more or less corresponding to the Christian concept of hell. According to Avestan belief, there is no reversal and no deviation possible once a man has made his decision. Thus, the world is divided into two hostile blocks, whose members represent two warring dominions. On the side of the Wise Lord are the settled herdsmen or farmers, caring for their cattle and living in a definite social order. The follower of the Lie (Druj) is a thieving nomad, an enemy of orderly agriculture and animal husbandry.

Eschatological teachings.
The Gāthās, the early hymns, many of which may have been written by Zoroaster, are permeated by eschatological thinking. Almost every passage contains some reference to the fate awaiting men in the afterlife. Each act, speech, and thought is viewed as being related to an existence after death. The earthly state is connected with a state beyond, in which the Wise Lord will reward the good act, speech, and thought and punish the bad. This motive for doing good seems to be the strongest available to Zoroaster in his message. After death, the soul of man must pass over the Bridge of the Requiter (Činvat), which everyone looks upon with fear and anxiety. After judgment is passed by Ahura Mazdā, the good enter the kingdom of everlasting joy and light, and the bad are consigned to the regions of horror and darkness. Zoroaster, however, goes beyond this, announcing an end phase for the visible world, “the last turn of creation.” In this last phase, Ahriman will be destroyed, and the world will be wonderfully renewed and be inhabited by the good, who will live in paradisiacal joy. Later forms of Zoroastrianism teach a resurrection of the dead, a teaching for which some basis may be found in the Gāthās. Through the resurrection of the dead, the renewal of the world bestows a last fulfillment on the followers of the Wise Lord.

Cultic reforms.
Zoroaster forbade all sacrifices in honour of Ahriman or of his adherents, the daevas, who from pre-Zoroastrian times had degenerated into hostile deities. In the prevailing religious tradition, Zoroaster probably found that the practice of sacrificing cattle, combined with the consumption of intoxicating drinks (haoma), led to orgiastic excess. In his reform, Zoroaster did not, as some scholars would have it, abolish all animal sacrifice but simply the orgiastic and intoxicating rites that accompanied it. The haoma sacrifice, too, was to be thought of as a symbolic offering; it may have consisted of unfermented drink or an intoxicating beverage or plant. Zoroaster retained the ancient cult of fire. This cult and its various rites were later extended and given a definite order by the priestly class of the Magi. Its centre, the eternal flame in the Temple of Fire, was constantly linked with the priestly service and with the haoma sacrifice.

Influence and assessments.
After the conversion of Vishtāspa to such teachings, Zoroaster remained at the court of the king. Other officials were converted, and a daughter of Zoroaster apparently married Jāmāsp, a minister of the king. According to tradition, Zoroaster lived for 77 years, thus indicating that he died about 551 bc. After his death, many legends arose about him. According to these legends, nature rejoiced at his birth, and he preached to many nations, founded sacred fires, and fought in a sacred war. He was viewed as a model for priests, warriors, and agriculturalists, as well as a skilled craftsman and healer. The Greeks regarded him as a philosopher, mathematician, astrologer, or magician. Jews and Christians regarded him as an astrologer, magician, prophet, or arch heretic. Not until the 18th century did a more scholarly assessment of Zoroaster’s career and influence emerge.

Franz Cardinal König



Zoroastrian scripture
also called Zend-avesta,
sacred book of Zoroastrianism containing its cosmogony, law, and liturgy, the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathushtra). The extant Avesta is all that remains of a much larger body of scripture, apparently Zoroaster’s transformation of a very ancient tradition. The voluminous manuscripts of the original are said to have been destroyed when Alexander the Great conquered Persia. The present Avesta was assembled from remnants and standardized under the Sāsānian kings (3rd–7th century ad).


The Avesta is in five parts. Its religious core is a collection of songs or hymns, the Gāthās, thought to be in the main the very words of Zoroaster. They form a middle section of the chief liturgical part of the canon, the Yasna, which contains the rite of the preparation and sacrifice of haoma. The Visp-rat is a lesser liturgical scripture, containing homages to a number of Zoroastrian spiritual leaders. The Vendidad, or Vidēvdāt, is the main source for Zoroastrian law, both ritual and civil. It also gives an account of creation and the first man, Yima. The Yashts are 21 hymns, rich in myth, to various yazatas (angels) and ancient heroes. The Khūrda Avesta (or Little Avesta) is a group of minor texts, hymns, and prayers for specific occasions.

Zend-Avesta literally means “interpretation of the Avesta.” It originally referred to the commonly used Pahlavi translation but has often been used as the title of Western translations.


Zoroaster Hymns of the Zend Avesta

Words by Zoroaster, or Zarathustra

The Divine Songs of Zoroaster and seeks

Translation by C. Bartholomae, from I. J. S. Taraporewala

Ahunavaiti hymn

Chapter 28
1. WITH OUTSPREAD hands in petition for that help, Life-giver, I will pray for the works of the holy spirit, you the Right, whereby I may please the will of decent thought and the Ox-soul.

2. I who would serve you, Life-giver and Good Mind, do you give through righteousness the blessings of both worlds, the bodily and that of the Spirit, which set the faithful in felicity.

3. I who would praise you as never before, Right and decent thought and the Life-giver, and those for whom Piety makes an imperishable dominion to grow; come to my help at my call.

4. I who have set my heart on watching over the soul, in union with decent thought, and as knowing the rewards of the Life-giver for our works, will, while I have power and strength, teach men to seek after Right.

5. Righteousness, shall I see you and decent thought, as one that knows? (Shall I see) the throne of the mightiest Life-giver and the following of that the Life-giver? Through this word (of promise) on our tongue will we turn the robber horde to the Greatest.

6. Come with decent thought, give through righteousness, Life-giver, as the gift to Zoroaster, according to your sure words, long enduring mighty help, and to us, Life-giver, whereby we may overcome the enmity of our foes.

7. Righteousness, grant the reward, the blessing of decent thought; Piety, give our desire to King Vishtasp and to me. Life-giver and King, grant that your prophet may command a hearing.

8. The best I ask of you, best, Life-giver (Lord) of one will with the best righteousness, desiring (it) for the hero Frashaostra and for those (others) to whom you will give (it), (the best gift) of Good Mind through all time.

9. With these bounties, Life-giver, may we never provoke your wrath, Life-giver and Right and Best Thought, we who have been eager in bringing you songs of praise. You are they that are the mightiest to advance desire and the dominion of blessings.

10. The wise whom you know as worthy, for their right (doing) and their good thought, for them do you fulfill their longing for attainment. For I know words of prayer are effective with you, which tend to a good object.

11. I would thereby preserve Right and decent thought forever, that I may instruct, teach me, Life-giver, from your spirit by your mouth how it will be with the First Life.


Chapter 29
1. TO YOU wailed the Ox-soul, "For whom did you fashion me? Who created me? Violence and rapine (and) savagery has oppressed me, and outrage and might. I have no other herdsman than you; prepare for me then the blessings of pasture."

2. Then the Ox-Creator asked of the Right: "Have you a judge for the Ox, that you may be able to appoint him zealous tendance as well as fodder? Whom do you will to be his lord, who may drive off violence together with the followers of the Lie?"

3. To him the Right replied: "There is for the Ox no helper that can keep him away. Those yonder have no knowledge how right-doers act towards the lowly". (The Ox-Creator): "Strongest of beings is he to whose help I come at call".

4. (righteousness) "the Life-giver knoweth best the purposes that have been wrought already by demons and by mortals, and that shall be wrought hereafter. He, Life-giver, is the decider. So shall it be as he shall will."

5. (The Ox-Creator) "To the Life-giver with outspread hands we two would pray, my soul and that of the pregnant cow, so that we two urge the Life-giver with entreaties. Destruction is not for the right-living, nor for the cattle-tender at the hands of liars."

6. Then spake the Life-giver himself, who knows the law with wisdom: "There is found no lord or judge according to the Right Order for the Creator has formed you for the cattle-tender and the farmer."

7. This ordinance about the fat has the Life-giver, one in will with Right, created for cattle, and the milk for them that crave nourishment, by his command, the holy one. (The Ox and Cow:) "Whom have you, decent thought, among men, who may care for us two?"

8. (Good Mind:) He is known to me here who alone has heard our commands, even Zoroaster Spitama; he willeth to make known our thoughts, Life-giver, and those of the Right. So let us bestow on him charm of speech.

9. Then the Ox-soul lamented: "That I must be content with the ineffectual word of an impotent man for my protector, when I wish for one that commands mightily! When ever shall there be one who shall give him (the Ox) effective help?"

10. (Zoroaster:) Do you, Life-giver, grant them strength, and righteousness, and decent thought, that dominion, whereby he (the Savior) could produce good dwellings and peace. I also have realized you, Life-giver, as the first to accomplish this.

11. "Where are Right and decent thought and dominion? So, you men, acknowledge me, for instruction, Life-giver, for the great society." (The Ox and Cow:) "the Life-giver, now is help ours, we will be ready to serve those that are of you."


Chapter 30
1. NOW I will proclaim to those who will hear the things that the understanding man should remember, for hymns to the Life-giver and prayers to decent thought; also the felicity that is with the heavenly lights, which through Right shall be beheld by him who wisely thinks.

2. Hear with your ears the best things; look on them with clear-seeing thought, for decision between the two Beliefs, each man for himself before the Great consummation, bethinking you that it be accomplished to our pleasure.

3. Now the two primal Spirits, who reveal themselves in vision as Twins, are the Better and the Bad, in thought and word and action. And between these two the wise ones chose aright, the foolish not so.

4. And when these two Spirits came together in the beginning, they created Life and Not-Life, and that at the last Worst Existence shall be to the followers of the Lie, but the Best Existence to him that follows Right.

5. Of these two Spirits he that followed the Lie chose doing the worst things; the holiest Spirit chose Right, he that clothes him with the massy heavens as a garment. So likewise they that are fain to please the Life-giver by dutiful actions.

6. Between these two the demons also chose not aright, for infatuation came upon them as they took counsel together, so that they chose the Worst Thought. Then they rushed together to Violence, that they might enfeeble the world of men.

7. And to him (i.e. mankind) came dominion, and Good Mind, and Right and Piety gave continued life to their bodies and indestructibility, so that by your retributions through (molten) metal he may gain the prize over the others.

8. So when there cometh their punishment for their sins, then, Life-giver, at your command shall decent thought establish the dominion in the Consummation, for those who deliver the Lie, Life-giver, into the hands of Right.

9. So may we be those that make this world advance, Life-giver and you other the Life-givers, come here, vouchsafing (to us) admission into your company and righteousness, in order that (our) thought may gather together while reason is still shaky.

10. Then truly on the (world of) Lie shall come the destruction of delight; but they who get themselves good name shall be partakers in the promised reward in the fair abode of decent thought, of the Life-giver, and of Right.

11. If, you mortals, you mark those commandments which the Life-giver has ordained—of happiness and pain, the long punishment for the follower of the lies and falsehood, and blessings for the followers of the Right—then hereafter shall it be well.


Chapter 31
1. MINDFUL of your commands, we proclaim words unpleasant for them to hear that after the commands of the Lie destroy the creatures of Right, but most welcome to those that give their heart to the Life-giver.

2. If by reason of these things the better path is not in sight for choosing, then will I come to you all as judge of the parties two whom the Life-giver knoweth, that we may live according to the Right.

3. What award you givest through the (holy) Spirit and through the Fire and have taught through righteousness, to both the parties, and what the decision is for the wise, this you tell us, Life-giver, that we may know, even with the tongue of yours own mouth, that I may convert all living men.

4. If righteousness is to be invoked and the Life-giver and the other the Life-givers and Ashi and Armaiti, seek for me, Good Mind [1], the mighty dominion, by the increase of which we might vanquish the Lie.

[1. Boyce: "seek by the best purpose (vahishta manah)..." This is an excellent example of the continuous juxtaposition in the Gathas of the Amesha Spentas as divinities and things.]
5. Tell me therefore what you, you Right, have appointed me as the better portion, for me to determine, to know and to keep in mind, you decent thought—which portion they envy me. Tell me of all these things. the Life-giver, that shall not or shall be.

6. To him shall the best befall, who, as one that knows, speaks to me Right's truthful word of welfare and of immortality; even the dominion of the Life-giver which decent thought shall increase for him.

7. About which he in the beginning thus thought, "let the blessed realms be filled with Light", he it is that by his wisdom created Right. (Those realms) that the Best Thought shall possess those do you exalt, Life-giver, through the Spirit, which, Life-giver, is ever the same.

8. I recognize you, Life-giver, in my thought, that you the First are (also) the Last—that you are Father of Good Mind;—when I apprehend you with my eye, that you are the true Creator of Right [righteousness], and are the Lord to judge the actions of life.

9. Yours was Armaiti, yours the Ox-Creator, (namely) the Wisdom of the Spirit, Life-giver, because you didst give (the cattle) choice whether to depend on a husbandman or one who is no husbandman.

10. So she chose for herself out of the two the cattle-tending husbandman as her lord to guard the Right, the man that advances decent thought. He that is no-husbandman, Life-giver, however eager he be, has no part in this good message.

11. When you, Life-giver, in the beginning didst create the Individual and the Individuality, through your Spirit, and powers of understanding - when you didst make life clothed with the body, when (you madest) actions and teachings, whereby one may exercise one's convictions at one's free-will;

12. Then lifts up his voice the false speaker or the true speaker, he that knows or he that knows not, (each) according to his own heart and mind. Passing from one to another Armaiti confers with the spirit in whom there is wavering.

13. Whatever open or whatever secret (acts) may be visited with punishment, or whether a person for a little sin demands the highest punishment,—of all this through righteousness you are aware, observing it with your flashing eye.

14. These things I ask you, Life-giver, how will these come and happen—the dues, that in accord with the records are appointed for the righteous, and those, Life-giver, for the followers of the lies and falsehood,—how shall these be when they come to the reckoning.

15. This I ask, what penalty is for him who seeks to achieve kingdom for a liar, for a man of ill deeds, Life-giver, who finds not his living without injury to the husbandman's cattle and men, though he does him no injury.

16. This I ask, whether the understanding man, who strives to advance the dominion over the house, or district, or land through Righteousness, shall become like you, Life-giver, when will he be and how will he act?

17. Which is the greater—what the follower of Righteousness or what the follower of lies and falsehood believe? Let him that knows inform the wise; no longer let him that knows nothing deceive. Be to us, Life-giver, the teacher of decent thought.

18. Let none of you listen to the words and commands of the follower of the lies and falsehood; for he brings house and clan and district and land into misery and destruction. Resist them with weapon!

19. To him should we listen who has understood Righteousness, to the wise Healer of Life the Life-giver, who can or will establish the truth of the words of his tongue, when through your red Fire, Life-giver, the assignment (of rewards) is made to the two parties.

20. Whosoever cometh over to the Righteous, far from him hereafter shall be long age of misery (and) darkness, ill-food, and crying of woe. To such an existence, you followers of the Lie, shall your own Self bring you through your (own) action.

21. The the Life-giver by virtue of his absolute lordship will grant a perpetuity of communion with Haurvatat and Ameretat, and with Righteousness, with Khshathra, and with Good Mind, to him that in spirit and in action is his friend.

22. Clear it is to the man of understanding, as one who has realized it with his thought. He upholds Righteousness together with good dominion by his word and deed. He will be, Life-giver, the most helpful helper to you.


Chapter 32
1. (ZOROASTER) - And his blessedness, even that of the Life-giver, shall the nobles strive to attain, his the community with the brotherhood, his, you demons, in the manner as I declare it. (The Representatives of the Classes)—As your messengers we would keep them far away that are enemies to you.

2. To them the Life-giver, who is united with decent thought, and is in goodly fellowship with glorious Right, through dominion, made reply: We make choice of your holy good Piety [Armaiti]—may it be ours.

3. (Zoroaster)—But you, you demons all, and he that highly honors you, are the seed of Bad Thought—yes, and of the Lie and of Arrogance, likewise your deeds, whereby you have long been known in the seventh region of the earth.

4. For you have brought it to pass that men who do the worst things shall be called beloved of the demons, separating themselves from decent thought, departing from the will of the Life-giver and from Right.

5. Thereby you defrauded mankind of happy life and immortality, by the deed which he and the Bad Spirit together with Bad Thought and Bad Word taught you, you demons and the liars, so as to ruin (mankind).

6. The many sins by which he has succeeded in being famous whether by these it shall be thus, this you Know by the Best Thought, Life-giver, you who are mindful of each person's deserts. In your dominion, Life-giver, and that of Righteousness, shall your decision thereon be observed.

7. None of these sins will the understanding commit, in eagerness to attain the blessing that shall be proclaimed, we know, through the glowing metal—sins the issue of which, Life-giver, you know best.

8. Among these sinners, we know, Yima was included, Vivanghen's son, who desiring to satisfy men gave our people flesh of the ox to eat. From these shall I be separated by you, Life-giver, at last.

9. The teacher of evil destroys the lore, he by his teaching destroys the design of life, he prevents the possession of decent thought from being prized. These words of my spirit I wail to you, Life-giver, and to the Right.

10. He it is that destroys, who declares that the Ox and the Sun are the worst things to behold with the eyes, and has made the pious into liars, and desolates the pastures and lifts his weapon against the righteous man.

11. It is they, the liars, who destroy life, who are mightily determined to deprive matron and master of the enjoyment of their heritage, in that they would prevent the righteous, Life-giver, from the Best Thought.

12. Since they by their lore would pervert men from the best doing, Life-giver uttered evil against them, who destroy the life of the Ox with shouts of joy, by whom Grehma and his tribe are preferred to the Right and the Karapan and the lordship of them that seek after the Lie.

13. Since Grehma shall attain the realm in the dwelling of the Worst Thought, he and the destroyers of life, Life-giver, they shall lament in their longing for the message of your prophet, who will stay them from beholding the Right.

14. To his undoing Grehma, and the Kavis, have long devoted their purpose and energies, for they set themselves to help the liar, and that it may be said, "The Ox shall be slain that it may kindle the Averter of Death to help us."

15. Thereby has come to ruin the Karapan and the Kavi community, through those whom they will not have to rule over their life. These shall be born away from them both to the dwelling of decent thought.

16. ..., who have power, Life-giver, on him who threatens to be my undoing, that I may fetter the men of the Lie in their violence against my friends.


Chapter 33
1. ACCORDING as it is with the laws that belong to the present life, so shall the Judge act with most just deed towards the man of the Lie and the man of the Right, and him whose false things and good things balance (in equal measure).

2. Whoso worketh ill for the liar by word or thought or hands, or converts his dependent to the good—such men meet the will of the Life-giver to his satisfaction.

3. Whose is most good to the righteous man, be he noble or member of the community or the brotherhood, Life-giver—or with diligence cares for the cattle, he shall be hereafter in the pasture of Right and decent thought [Righteousness and Good Mind].

4. I who by worship would keep far from you, Life-giver, disobedience and Bad Thought, heresy from the nobles, and from the community the Lie, that is most near, and from the brotherhood the slanderers, and the worst herdsmen from the pastures of the cattle; —

5. I who would invoke your Obedience as the greatest of all at the Consummation, attaining long life, and the dominion of decent thought, and the straight ways into Right, wherein the Life-giver dwells.

6. I, as a priest, who would learn the straight (paths) by the Right, would learn by the Best Spirit how to practice husbandry by that thought in which it is thought of; these Two of yours, Life-giver, I strive to see and take counsel with them.

7. Come here to me, you Best Ones, here, Life-giver, in your own person and visibly, Right and decent thought, that I may be heard beyond the limits of the people. Let the august duties be manifest among us and clearly viewed.

8. Consider my matters whereon I am active, decent thought, my worship, Life-giver, towards one like you, and Right, the words of my praise. Grant, welfare and immortality, your own everlasting blessing.

9. That Spirit of yours, Life-giver, together with the comfort of the Comrades Two, who advance the Right, let the Best Thought bring through the Reform wrought by me. Sure is the support of those two, whose souls are one.

10. All the pleasures of life which you holdest, those that were, that are, and that shall be the Life-giver, according to your good will apportion them. Through decent thought advance the body, through dominion and Right at will.

11. The most mighty the Life-giver, and Piety, and Right that blesses our substance, and decent thought and dominion, listen to me, be merciful to me, when to each man the recompense comes.

12. Rise up for me, Life-giver, through Armaiti give strength, through the holiest Spirit give might, Life-giver, through the good Recompense [�d�, offering], through the Right give powerful prowess, through decent thought give the reward.

13. To support me, you that seest far onward, do you assure me the incomparable things in your dominion, Life-giver, as the Destiny of decent thought. Holy Armaiti, teach the Daenas about the Right.

14. As an offering Zoroaster brings the life of his own body, the choiceness of good thought, action, and speech, to the Life-giver, to the Right, Obedience, and dominion.


Chapter 34
1. THE ACTION, the word, and the worship for which you, Life-giver, shall bestow immortality and Right, and dominion of welfare - through multitudes of these, Life-giver, we would that you shouldst give them.

2. And all the actions of the good spirit and the holy man, whose soul follows the Right, do you set with the thought (thereof) in your outer court, Life-giver, when you are adored with hymns of praise.

3. To you and to Right [Righteousness] we will offer the sacrifice [myazda, i.e. offering] with due service [veneration], that in (your established) dominion you may bring all creatures to perfection through decent thought. For the reward of the wise man is for ever secure, Life-giver, among you.

4. Of your Fire, Life-giver, that is mighty through Right, promised and powerful, we desire that it may be for the faithful man with manifested delight, but for the enemy with visible torment, according to the pointings of the hand.

5. Have you dominion and power, Life-giver, Right and decent thought, to do as I urge on you, even to protect your poor man? We have renounced the robber-gangs, both demons and men.

6. If you are truly thus, Life-giver, Right and decent thought, then give me this token, even a total reversal of this life, that I may come before you again more joyfully with worship and praise.

7. Can they be true to you, Life-giver, who by their doctrines turn the known inheritances of decent thought into misery and woe [usheuru?]. I know none other but you, Right, so do you protect us.

8. For by these actions they put us in fear, in which peril is for many—in that the stronger (puts in fear) (me) the weaker one—through hatred of your commandment, Life-giver. They that will not have the Right in their thought, from them shall the Good Abode be far.

9. These men of evil action who spurn the holy Piety, precious to your wise one, Life-giver, through their having no part in decent thought, from them Right shrinks back far, as from us shrink the wild beasts of prey.

10. The man of understanding [or good will] has instructed (people) to cling to action of this decent thought [Good Mind], and to the Holy Piety [Spenta Armaiti], creator, comrade of Right [Righteousness]—wise that he is, and to all hope, Life-giver, that are in your dominion, Life-giver.

11. And both your (gifts) shall be for sustenance, even nectar and ambrosia. Piety linked with Right shall advance the dominion of decent thought, its permanence and power. By these, Life-giver, do you bless the foes of your foes.

12. What is your ordinance? What willst you? What of praise or what of worship? Proclaim it, Life-giver, that we may hear what ordinances Destiny will apportion. Teach us by Right the paths of decent thought that are blessed to go in, -

13. Even that way of decent thought, Life-giver, of which you didst speak to me, whereon, a way well made by Right, the Daena of the future benefactors shall pass to the reward that was prepared for the wise, of which you are determinant, Life-giver.

14. The precious reward, then, Life-giver, you will give by the action of decent thought to the bodily life of those who are in the community that tends the pregnant cow, (the promise of) your good doctrine, Life-giver, that of the wisdom which exalts communities through Right.

15. the Life-giver, make known to me he best teachings and actions, these decent thought and Right the due of praise. Through your dominion, Life-giver, assure us that mankind shall be capable according to (your) will.


Ushtavaiti hymn

Chapter 43
1. TO EACH several man, to whom the Life-giver ruling at his will grant after the (petitioner's) will, I will after his will that he attain permanence and power, lay hold of Right - grant this, Piety, - the destined gift of wealth, the life of the decent thought,

2. and it shall be for him the best of all things. After his longing for bliss may one be given bliss, through the provident most holy spirit, Life-giver, even the blessings of decent thought which you will give through Right all the days with joy of enduring life.

3. May he attain to that which is better than the good, who would teach us the straight paths of blessedness in this life here of the body and in that of thought - true paths that lead to the world where the Life-giver dwells - a faithful man, well-knowing and holy like you, Life- giver.

4. Then shall I recognize you as strong and holy, Life-giver, when by the hand in which you yourself do hold the destinies that you will assign to the liar and the Righteous, by the glow of your Fire whose power is Right, the might of decent thought shall come to me.

5. As the holy one [spenta] I recognize you, Life-giver, when I saw you in the beginning at the birth of Life, when you madest actions and words to have their meed—evil for the evil, a good destiny for the good—through your wisdom when creation shall reach its goal.

6. At which goal you will come with your holy Spirit, Life-giver, with dominion, at the same with decent thought, by whose action the settlements will prosper through Right. Their judgments shall Piety proclaim, even those of your wisdom which none can deceive.

7. As the holy one I recognized you, Life-giver, when decent thought came to me and asked me: "Who are you? to whom do you belong? By what signs will you appoint the days for questioning about your possessions and yourself?"

8. Then I said to him: "To the first (question), Zoroaster am I, a true foe to the liar, to the utmost of my power, but a powerful support would I be to the Righteous, that I may attain the future things of the infinite dominion, according as I praise and sing you, Life-giver.

9. As the holy one I recognize you, Life-giver, when decent thought came to me. To his question, "For which will you decide" (I made reply). "At the gift of adoration to your Fire, I will bethink me of Right so long as I have power.

10. Then show me Right, on whom I call. (the Life-giver:) "Associating him with Piety, I have come here. Ask us now what things are here for you to ask. For your asking is as that of a mighty one, since he that is able should make you as a mighty one possessed of your desire."

11. As the holy one I recognized you, Life-giver, when decent thought came to me, when first by your words I was instructed. Shall it bring me sorrow among men, my devotion, in doing that which you tell me is the best.

12. And when you saidest to me, 'To Right shall you go for teaching', then you didst not command what I did not obey: 'Speed you, ere my Obedience come, followed by treasure-laden Destiny, who shall render to men severally the destiny of the two-fold award.'

13. As the holy one I recognized you, Life-giver, when decent thought came to me to learn the state of my desire. Grant it me, that which none may compel you to allow, (the wish) for long continuance of blessed existence that they say is in your dominion.

14. If your provident side, such as an understanding man who has the power would give to his friends, comes to me by the dominion through Right, then I will bestir myself to set myself in opposition against the foes of your Law, together with all those who are mindful of your words.

15. As the holy one I recognized you, Life-giver, when decent thought came to me, when the best Tushna-Matay taught me to declare: "Let not men seek again and again to please the liars, for they make all the righteous enemies."

16. And Zoroaster himself, Life-giver, chooses each one of your holiest Spirit, Life-giver. May Right be embodied full of life and strength! May Piety abide in the dominion bright as the sun! May decent thought give destiny to men according to their works!


Chapter 44
1. THIS I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver - as to prayer, how it should be to one of you. the Life-giver, might one like you teach to a friend such as I am, and through friendly Right give us support, that decent thought may come to us.

2. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver - whether at the beginning of the Best Existence the recompenses shall bring blessedness to him that meets with them. Surely he, Right, the holy one, who watches in his spirit the transgression of all, if himself the benefactor of all that lives, Life-giver.

3. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver. Who is by generation the Father of Right, at the first? Who determined the path of sun and stars? Who is it by whom the moon waxes and wanes again? This, Life-giver, and yet more, I am fain to know.

4. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver. Who upholds the earth beneath and the firmament from falling? Who the waters and the plants? Who yoked swiftness to winds and clouds? Who is, Life-giver, creator of decent thought?

5. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver. What artist made light and darkness? What artist made sleep and waking? Who made morning, noon, and night, that call the understanding man to his duty?

6. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver - whether what I proclaim is verily the truth. Will Right with its actions give aid (at the last)? will Piety? Will decent thought announce from the dominion? For whom have you made the pregnant cow that brings good luck?

7. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver. Who created together with dominion the precious Piety? Who made by wisdom the son obedient to his father? I strive to recognize by these things you, Life-giver, creator of all things through the holy spirit.

8. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver. I could keep in mind your design, Life-giver, and understand aright the maxims of life which I ask of decent thought and Right. How will my soul partake of the good that gives increase?

9. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver - whether for the Self that I would bring to perfection, that of the man of insight, the Lord of dominion would make promises of the sure dominion, one of your likenesses, Life-giver, who dwells in one abode with (Right) and decent thought.

10. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver. The Religion which is best for (all) that are, which in union with Right should prosper all that is mine, will they duly observe it, the religion of my creed, with words and action of Piety, in desire for your (future) good things, Life-giver?

11. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver - whether Piety will extend to those to whom your Religion shall be proclaimed? I was ordained at the first for this by you; all others I look on with hatred of spirit.

12. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver. Who among those with whom I would speak is a righteous man, and who a liar? On which side is the enemy? (On this), or is he the enemy, the liar who opposes your blessings? How shall it be with him? Is he not to be thought of as an enemy?

13. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver - whether we shall drive the Lie away from us to those who being full of disobedience will not strive after fellowship with Right, nor trouble themselves with counsel of decent thought.

14. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver - whether I would put the Lie into the hands of Right, to cast her down by the words of your lore, to work a mighty destruction among the liars, to bring torments on them and enmities, Life-giver.

15. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver - if you have power over this to ward off from me through Right, when the two opposing hosts meet in battle according to those decrees which you will firmly establish. Whether is it of the two that you will give victory.

16. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver. Who is victorious to protect by your doctrine (all) that are? By vision assure me how to set up the judge that heals the world. Then let him have Obedience coming with decent thought to every man whom you desirest, Life-giver.

17. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver - whether through you I shall attain my goal, Life-giver, even attachment to you, and that my voice may be effectual, that welfare and immortality may be ready to unite according to that promise with him who joins himself with Right.

18. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver - whether I shall indeed, Right, earn the reward, even ten mares with a stallion and a camel, which was promised to me, Life-giver, as well as through you, the future gift of welfare and immortality.

19. This I ask you, tell me truly, Life-giver. He that will not give the reward to him that earns it, even to the man who fulfilling his word gives him (what he undertook) - what penalty shall come to him for the same at the present? I know that which shall come to him at the last.

20. Have the demons ever exercised good dominion? And I ask of those who see how for the demons' sake the Karapan and the Usij give cattle to violence, and how the Kavi made them continually to mourn, instead of taking care that they make the pastures prosper through Right.


Chapter 45
1. I WILL speak forth: hear now and listen now, you from near and you from far that desire (instruction). Now observe this in your mind, all of you, for he is revealed. Never shall the false Teacher destroy the Second Life, the liar, in perversion by his tongue into evil belief.

2. I will speak of the Spirits two at the first beginning of the world, of whom the holier spoke thus to the enemy: "Neither thought, nor teachings, nor wills, nor beliefs, nor words, nor deeds, nor selfs, nor souls of us two agree".

3. I will speak of that which the Life-giver, the all-knowing, revealed to me first in this (earthly) life. Those of you that put not in practice this word as I think and utter it, to them shall be woe at the end of life.

4. I will speak of what is best for the life. Through Righteousness I have come to know, Life-giver, who created it (the life), the father of active decent thought: but his daughter is the good-working Armaiti. The all-observant the Life-giver is not to be deceived.

5. I will speak of that which (he), the Holiest declared to me as the word that is best for mortals to obey; while he said: "they who for my sake render him obedience, shall all attain to welfare and immortality by the actions of the Good Spirit" - (he) the Life-giver.

6. I will speak of him who is the greatest of all, praising him, Right, who is bounteous to all that live. By the holy spirit let the Life-giver listen, in whose Adoration I have been instructed by decent thought. By his wisdom let him teach me what is best,

7. Even he whose two awards, whereof he ordains, men shall attain, who so are living or have been or shall be. In immortality shall the soul of the righteous be joyful, in perpetuity shall be the torment of liars. All this does the the Life-giver appoint by his dominion.

8. Him you shouldst seek to win for us by hymns of adoration (in your mind): "Now indeed have I seen it with my eye, (the Kingdom) of the good spirit and of (good) action and word, since I have learnt to know the the Life-giver through Right". Let us offer him homage in the House of Song [Heaven].

9. Him you shouldst seek to propitiate for us together with decent thought, who at his will maketh us weal or woe. May the the Life-giver by his dominion bring us to work, for prospering our beasts and our men, so that we may through Right have familiarity with decent thought.

10. Him you shouldst seek to exalt with prayers of piety, him that is called the Life-giver for ever, for that he has promised through his own Right and decent thought that welfare and immortality shall be for us in his dominion strength and perpetuity in his house.

11. Whoso therefore in the future lightly esteemeth the demon and those mortals that lightly esteem him - even all others save that one who highly esteemeth him, - to his shall the holy Daena of the future deliverer, as lord of the house, be friend, brother or father, the the Life-giver.


Chapter 46
1. TO WHAT land shall I go to flee, whither to flee? From nobles and from my peers they sever me, nor are the people pleased with me [......], nor the liar rulers of the land. How am I to please you, Life-giver?

2. I know why, Life-giver, I have been unable (to achieve) anything. Only a few herds are mine (and therefore it is so) and because I have got but few people. I cry to you, see you to it, Life-giver, granting me support a friend gives to friend. Teach me through the Right what the acquisition of decent thought is.

3. When, Life-giver, shall the sunrisings come forth for the worlds winning of Right, through the powerful teachings of the wisdom of the future Deliverers? Who are they to whose help decent thought shall come? I have faith that you will yourself fulfill this for me, Life-giver.

4. The liar stays the supporter of Right from prospering the cattle in district and province, infamous that he is, repellent in his actions. Whoso, Life-giver, robs him of dominion or of life, he shall go before and prepare the ways of the good belief.

5. If an understanding man should be able to hold one who comes over from his vow and his ties of faith, himself having brought him thereto, and living according to the ordinance, a righteous man (converting) a liar - then shall he, when he is sure of him, tell it to the nobles, that they may protect him from injury, Life-giver.

6. But whoso when thus approached should refuse his aid, he shall go to the abodes of the company of the liar. For he is himself a liar, who is very good to a liar, he is a righteous man to whom a righteous man is dear, since you have created men's Selves in the beginning, Life-giver.

7. Whom, Life-giver, can one appoint as protector for one like me, when the liar sets himself to injure me, other than your Fire and your Thought, through actions of which two the Right will come to maturity, Life-giver? In this lore do you instruct my very self.

8. Whoso is minded to injure my possessions, from his actions may no harm come to me! Back on himself may they come with hostility, against his own person, all the hostile (acts), to keep him far from the Good Life, Life-giver, not from the ill!

9. Who is it, the faithful man he, who first taught that we honor you as mightiest to help, as the holy righteous Lord over action? What your Right made known, what the Ox-Creator made known to Right, they would fain hear through your Good Mind.

10. Whoso, man or woman, doeth what you, Life-giver, know as best in life, as destiny for what is Right (give him) the dominion through decent thought. And those whom I impel to your adoration, with all these will I cross the Bridge of the Separator.

11. By their dominion the Karapans and the Kavis accustomed mankind to evil actions, so as to destroy Life. Their own soul and their own self shall torment them when they come where the Bridge of the Separator is, to all time dwellers in the House of the Lie.

12. When among the laudable descendants and posterity of the Turanian Fryana the Right ariseth, through activity of Piety that blesseth substance; then shall decent thought admit them, and the Life-giver give them protection at the Fulfillment.

13. Whoso among mortals has pleased Spitama Zoroaster by his willingness, a man deserving of good fame, to him shall the Life-giver give Life, to him shall decent thought increase substance, him we account to be a familiar friend with your Right.

14. Zoroaster, what righteous man is your friend for the great covenant? Who wills to have good fame? It is the Kava King Vishtasp at the consummation. Those whom you will unite in one house with you, these will I call with words of decent thought.

15. You Haechataspa Spitamas, I will declare to you so that you can discern the wise and the unwise. ... Through these actions you shall acquire Right according to the primeval laws of the Life-giver.

16. Frashaoshtra Hvogva, go you thither with those faithful whom we both desire to be in blessedness, where with Right is united Piety, where the dominion is in possession of decent thought, where the Life-giver dwells to give it increase.

17. When, Jamaspa Hvogva, when I recount your wrongs not your successes, (and) with your obedience the prayers of your loyalty, (before him) who shall separate the wise and the unwise through his prudent counselor the Right, even he, Life-giver.

18. He that holds to me, to him I promise what is best in my possession through the decent thought, but enmities to him that shall set himself to devise enmity to us, Life-giver and the Right, desiring to satisfy your will. That is the decision of my understanding and thought.

19. He who accomplisheth for me, even Zoroaster, in accordance with Right that which best agrees with my will, to him as earning the reward of the Other Life shall be that of two pregnant cows, with all things whereon his mind is set. These things will you bring to pass for me who best know how, Life-giver.


Spentamainyush hymn

Chapter 47
1. FOR HIS holy Spirit and for Best Thought, deed, and word, in accordance with Right the Life-giver with dominion and Piety shall give us welfare and immortality.

2. The best (work) of this most holy Spirit he fulfills with the tongue through words of decent thought, with work of his hands through the action of Piety, by virtue of this knowledge: he, even the Life-giver, is the Father of Right.

3. You are the holy Father of this Spirit, which has created for us the luck-bringing cattle, and for its pasture to give it peace (has created) Piety, when he had taken counsel, Life-giver, with decent thought.

4. From this Spirit have liars fallen away, Life-giver, but not the Righteous. Whether one is lord of little or of much, he is to show love to the righteous, but be ill to the liar.

5. And all the best things which by this Holy Spirit you have promised to the righteous, Life-giver, shall the liar partake of them without your will, who by his actions is on the side of Ill Thought?

6. Through this holy Spirit, Life-giver, and through the Fire you will give the division of good to the two parties, with support of Piety and Right. This verily will convert many who are ready to hear.


Chapter 48
1. WHEN AT the Recompensings the Right shall smite the liar, so that what was long since made known shall be assigned to eternity to demons and men, then will it exalt with your blessings, Life-giver, him who prays to you.

2. Tell me, for you are he that knows, Life-giver: - shall the Righteous smite the liar before the retributions come which you have conceived? That were indeed a message to bless the world.

3. For him that knows, that is the best of teachings which the beneficent the Life-giver teaches through the Right, he the holy one, even yourself, Life-giver, that knows the secret lore through the wisdom of decent thought.

4. Whoso, Life-giver, makes his thought (now) better, (now) worse, and likewise his Self by action and by word, and follows his own inclinations, wishes, and choices, he shall in your purpose be in a separate place at last.

5. Let good rulers rule us, not evil rulers with the actions of the Good Lore, Piety! Perfect you for man, you most good, the future birth, and for the cow skilled husbandry. Let her grow fat for our nourishing.

6. She (Armaiti) will give us peaceful dwelling, she will give lasting life and strength, she the beloved of decent thought. For it (the cattle) the Life-giver made the plants to grow at the birth of the First Life, through Right.

7. Violence must be put down! against cruelty make a stand, you who would make sure of the reward of decent thought through Right, to whose company the holy man belongs. his dwelling place shall be in your House, Life-giver.

8. Is the possession of your good dominion, Life-giver, is that of your Destiny assured to me the Life-giver? Will your manifestation, you Right, be welcome to the pious, even the weighing of actions by the Good Spirit?

9. When shall I know whether you have power, Life-giver and Right, over everyone whose destructiveness is a menace to me? Let the revelation of decent thought be confirmed to me; the future deliverer should know how his own destiny shall be.

10. When, Life-giver, will the nobles understand the message? When will you smite the filthiness of this intoxicant, through which the Karapans evilly deceive, and the wicked lords of the lands with purpose fell? [1]

11. When, Life-giver, shall Piety come with Right, with dominion the happy dwelling rich with pasture? Who are they that will make peace with the bloodthirsty liars? To whom will the Lore of decent thought come?

12. These shall be the deliverers [[Saoshyants]] of the provinces, who exert themselves, decent thought in their action, Righteousness, to fulfill their duty, face to face with your command, Life-giver. For these are the appointed smiters of Violence.

NOTES: [1] Martin Schwartz tr: "When will they ban(ish) the filth of that ditch/reciprocity-gift whereby ... the karapans commit plunder", 'thus Yasna 48.10 contains no reference to intoxication, let alone condemnation of haoma.' Flattery: 'the passage ... has nothing remotely to do with sauma.' (Flattery & Schwartz, Haoma and Harmaline, 1989, pp. 105, 6.)

Chapter 49
1. EVER HAS Bendva been for me the greatest obstacle, I who desire to give satisfaction to those who are neglected, Right, Life-giver. With good Ada come to me, support me firmly. Prepare for him (his) ruin, decent thought.

2. The perverter of this Bendva has long time impeded me, the liar who has fallen away from Right. He cares not that holy Piety should be his, nor takes the counsel with decent thought, Life-giver.

3. And in this belief (of ours), Life-giver, Right is laid down, for blessing, in the heresy the Lie, for ruin. Therefore I strive for the fellowship of decent thought, I forbid all intercourse with the liar.

4. They who make the increase of violence and cruelty with their tongues, the foes of cattle-nurture among its friends; whose ill deeds prevail, not their good deeds: these (shall be) in the house of the demons, (the place for) the Self of the liar.

5. But he, Life-giver, - happiness and satiety be his who links his own Self with decent thought, being through Right an intimate of Piety. And with all these (may I be) in your dominion, Life-giver.

6. I beseech you two, Life-giver and the Right, to say what are the plans of your will, that we may discern how we might teach the Religion of such as you, Life-giver.

7. And this let decent thought hear, Life-giver, let the Right hear, do you also listen, Life-giver, which men of the brotherhood, what noble is it according to the Law who brings to the community fame.

8. On Frashaoshtra do you bestow the most gladsome fellowship with the Right - this I ask you, Life-giver - and on myself the hold on what is good in your dominion. To all eternity we would be your messengers.

9. Let the helper hear the ordinance, he that is created to bring deliverance. The man of right words is no regarder of fellowship with the liar, if they that are partakers of Right are to make their Selves partake in the best reward at the Judgment, Jamaspa.

10. And this, Life-giver, will I put in your care within your House - the decent thought and the souls of the Righteous, their worship, their Piety and zeal, that you mayst guard it, you mighty dominion, with abiding power.

11. But these that are of an evil dominion, of evil deeds, evil words, evil Self, and evil thought, liars, the Souls go to meet them with evil food; in the House of the Lie they shall be meet inhabitants.

12. What help have you, Right, for Zoroaster that calls on me? What have you, decent thought?—for me who with praises seeks your favor, Life-giver, longing for that which is best in your possession.

Chapter 50
1. (ZOROASTER:) Can my soul count on anyone for help? Who is there found for my herd, who for myself a protector, indeed, at my call other than the Right and yourself. the Life-giver, and the Best Thought?

2. How, Life-giver, should one desire the luck-bringing cattle, one who would fain it would come to him with the pasture? (the Life-giver:) They that live uprightly according to the Right among the many that look on the sun, those whom they stand in judgment, I will settle in the dwellings of the wise.

3. (Zoroaster:) So this (reward) shall come to him through the Right, Life-giver, (this reward) which by the dominion and decent thought he promised, whomsoever by the power of his Destiny prospers the neighboring possession that now the liar holds.

4. I will worship you with praise, Life-giver, joined with Right and Best Thought and dominion, that they, desired of pious men, may stand as Judges on the path of the obedient to the House of Song.

5. Assured by you, Life-giver and Right, are the pointings of the hand - since you are well-disposed to your prophet - which shall bring us to bliss, together with visible manifest help.

6. The prophet Zoroaster, Life-giver, who lifts up his voice in worship, as friend of Righteousness - may the Creator of Wisdom teach me his ordinances through decent thought, that my tongue may have a pathway.

7. For you I will harness the swiftest steeds, stout and strong, by the promptings of your praise, that you may come here, Life-giver, Right, and Good thought.

8. Ever with verses that are recognized as those of pious zeal I will come before you with outstretched hands, Life-giver, before you, you Right, with worship of the faithful man, before you with all the capacity of decent thought.

9. With those prayers I would come and praise you, Life-giver and you Right, with actions of decent thought. If I be master of my own destiny as I will, then will I take thought for the portion of the wise in the same.

10. Those actions that I shall achieve and those done aforetime, and those, decent thought, that are precious in your sight, the rays of the sun, the shimmering uprisings of the days, all is for your praise, you Right and the Life-giver.

11. Your praiser, Life-giver, will I declare myself and be, so long, Right, as I have strength and power. May the Creator of the world accomplish through decent thought its fulfillment of all that most perfectly answers to his will.


Vohukhshathra hymn

Chapter 51
1. THE GOOD, the precious dominion, as a most surpassing portion, shall Right achieve for him that with zeal accomplishes what is best through his actions, Life-giver. This will I now work out for us.

2. Before all, Life-giver, assure me the dominion of your possession, Right, and what is yours, Piety. Your (dominion) of blessing give through decent thought to him that prays.

3. Let your ears attend to those who in their deeds and utterances hold to your words, Life-giver and Right, to those of decent thought, for whom you, Life-giver, are the first teacher.

4. Where is the recompense for wrong to be found, where pardon for the same? Where shall they attain the Right? Where is the holy Piety, where Best Thought? your dominions, where are they, Life-giver?

5. All this (I) ask, whether the husbandman shall find cattle in accordance with Right, he that is perfect in action, a man of understanding, when he prays to him, who has promised to the Wise the true Judge, in that he is Lord of the two destinies...

6. Even he, Life-giver, who through his dominion appoints what is better than good to him that is attached to his will, but what is worse than evil to him that obeys him not, at the last end of life.

7. Give me, you that didst create the Ox and Waters and Plants, welfare and immortality, by the Highest Spirit, Life-giver, strength and continuance through decent thought at the (Judge's) sentence.

8. Of these two things will I speak, Life-giver, - for one may speak to the wise, - the ill that is threatened to the liar, and the happiness of him who clings to the Right. For he, the prophet, is glad of every one who says this to the wise.

9. What recompense you will give to the two parties by your red Fire, by the molten metal, give us a sign of it in our souls - even the bringing of ruin to the liar, of blessing to the Righteous.

10. Whoso, other than this one, seeks to kill me, Life-giver, he is a son of the Lie's creation, ill-willed thus towards all that live. I call the Right to come to me with good destiny.

11. What man is friend to Spitama Zoroaster, Life-giver? Who will let himself be counseled by Right? With whom is holy Piety? Or who as an upright man is intent on the brotherhood of decent thought?

12. The Kavi's wanton did not please Zoroaster Spitama at the Winter Gate, in that he stayed him from taking refuge with him, and when there came to him also (Zoroaster's) two steeds shivering with cold.

13. Thus the Self of the liar destroys for himself the assurance of the right Way; whose soul shall tremble at the Revelation on the Bridge of the Separator, having turned aside with deeds and tongue from the Path of Right.

14. The Karapans will not obey the statutes and ordinances concerning husbandry. For the pain they inflict on the cattle, fulfill on them through their actions and judgments that judgment which at the last shall bring them to the House of the Lie.

15. When Zoroaster has promised to the men of his brotherhood, (which) in the House of Song the Life-giver has first attained, for all this I have looked through your blessings, decent thought, and those of Right.

16. Kavi King Vishtasp has the creed which the holy the Life-giver with Right has devised, together with the dominion of the Brotherhood, and the path of decent thought. So be it accomplished after our desire.

17. The fair form of one that is dear has Frashaoshtra Hvogva promised to me: may sovereign the Life-giver grant that she attain possession of the Right for her good Self.

18. This creed Jamaspa Hvogva chooses through Right, lordly in substance. This dominion they (choose) who have part in decent thought. This grant me, Life-giver, that they may find in you, Life-giver, their protection.

19. The man himself, Maidyoi-Maungha Spitama, has set this before him after conceiving it in his own self. He that would see life indeed, to him will he make known what in actions by the Life-giver's ordinance is better during (this) existence.

20. Your blessings shall you give us, all that are one in will, with whom Right, decent thought, Piety, and the Life-giver (are one) according to promise, giving your aid when worshipped with reverence.

21. By Piety the man becomes Holy. Such person advances Right through his thinking, his words, his action, his Self. By decent thought the Life-giver will give the dominion. For this good Destiny I long.

22. He, I ween, that the Life-giver knoweth among all that have been and are, as one to whom in accordance with Right the best portion falls for his prayer, these will I reverence by their own names and go before them with honor.


Vahishtoishti hymn

Chapter 53
1. (ZOROASTER) - The best possession known is of Zoroaster Spitama, which is that the Life-giver will give him through Right the glories of blessed life to all time, and likewise to them that practice and learn the words and actions of his Good Religion.

2. Then let them seek the pleasure of the Life-giver with thoughts, words, and actions, to him praise gladly, and seek his worship, even Kava King Vishtasp, and Zoroaster's son, the Spitamid, with Frashaoshtra, making straight the paths for the Religion of the future Deliverer which the Life-giver ordained.

3. Him, Pouruchista, you scion of Haechataspa and Spitama, youngest of Zoroaster's daughters, has (Zoroaster) appointed as one to enjoin on them the fellowship with decent thought, Right, and the Life-giver. So take counsel with your own understanding, with good insight practice the holiest works of Piety.

4. (Jamaspa): Earnestly will I lead her to the Faith, that she may serve her father and her husband, the farmers and the nobles, as a righteous woman (serving) the righteous. The glorious heritage of decent thought ... shall the Life-giver give to her for all time.

5. (Zoroaster): Teachings address I to maidens marrying, and to you (bridegrooms) giving counsel. Lay them to heart and learn to get them within your Selves in earnest attention to the Life of decent thought. Let each of you strive to excel the other in the Right, for it will be a prize for that one.

6. So is it in fact, you men and women! Whatever happiness you look for in the follower of the (...) that will be snatched away from his person. To them the liars, crying 'woe', shall be ill-food, paradise shall be lost to them that despite righteousness. In such wise you destroy for yourselves the Spiritual Life.

7. And to you shall accrue the reward of the Brotherhood - in so far as the most faithful zeal is in your flesh and blood - there where the spirit of the liar, cringing and cowering, shall fall down into destruction. If you separate yourselves from the Brotherhood, then will 'woe!' be your word at the end of things.

8. So they whose deeds are evil, let them be deceived, and let them all howl, abandoned to ruin. Through good rulers let him bring death and bloodshed on them and peace from these (their assaults) to the happy villagers. Grief let him bring on those, he that is the greatest, with the lord of death; and soon let it be.

9. To men of evil creed belongs the place of corruption. They that set themselves to contemn the worthy, despising righteousness, forfeiting their own body. - Where is the Righteous Lord who shall rob them of life and freedom? yours the Life-giver is the dominion, whereby you can give to the right-living poor man the better portion.